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J Neurosci. 2013 Sep 18;33(38):15226-34. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2261-13.2013.

Structural covariance of the default network in healthy and pathological aging.

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1
Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 14853, Human Neuroscience Institute, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 14853, and Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada.

Abstract

Significant progress has been made uncovering functional brain networks, yet little is known about the corresponding structural covariance networks. The default network's functional architecture has been shown to change over the course of healthy and pathological aging. We examined cross-sectional and longitudinal datasets to reveal the structural covariance of the human default network across the adult lifespan and through the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). We used a novel approach to identify the structural covariance of the default network and derive individual participant scores that reflect the covariance pattern in each brain image. A seed-based multivariate analysis was conducted on structural images in the cross-sectional OASIS (N = 414) and longitudinal Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (N = 434) datasets. We reproduced the distributed topology of the default network, based on a posterior cingulate cortex seed, consistent with prior reports of this intrinsic connectivity network. Structural covariance of the default network scores declined in healthy and pathological aging. Decline was greatest in the AD cohort and in those who progressed from mild cognitive impairment to AD. Structural covariance of the default network scores were positively associated with general cognitive status, reduced in APOEε4 carriers versus noncarriers, and associated with CSF biomarkers of AD. These findings identify the structural covariance of the default network and characterize changes to the network's gray matter integrity across the lifespan and through the progression of AD. The findings provide evidence for the large-scale network model of neurodegenerative disease, in which neurodegeneration spreads through intrinsically connected brain networks in a disease specific manner.

PMID:
24048852
PMCID:
PMC3776065
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2261-13.2013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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